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Program Information
Takes on the World
Paul Pillar, former CIA analyst
 Jeff Blankfort  Contact Contributor
Jan. 24, 2018, 11:55 a.m.
Paul Pillar is interviewed on two related subjects about which he has recently written, the protests in Iran (“Gazing at Iran Through a Distorted Glass”) and Syria (“A New Decision to Go to War in Syria”) for the National Interest.

In the first he points out that interpretations of Iran's protests and those similar have more to do what is happening in the US and various agendas of players in the US than what is actually happening on the ground. This is particularly true of Iran where the protests, initiated by hardliners who oppose Pres. Rouhani soon involved others upset with the downturn in economic conditions. While acknowledging that both the US and Israel have an interest in fomenting civic unrest in Iran, the fact that the protests were never large, had different agendas based on realistic complaints and didn't expand argues against either country being behind them, nor the MEK, the Mojahedin-e Khalq, a one-time Marxist group that opposed Khomeni and went over to the side of Saddam Hussein when Iraq attacked Iran, which Pillar says is now insignificant n terms of Iranian society.

Pillar examines the role the US has played in trying to directly and indirectly undermine the JCPOA nuclear agreement, its efforts to stem foreign investments the Iranian economy using the threat of secondary sanctions administered by the US Treasury, and what would likely happen should Trump pull the US out of the deal.

Re the situation in Syria, he goes over the points he makes in introducing his article on Syria:

“Behind a façade of continuity, the deployment of U.S. armed forces in Syria for the purposes that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described in a speech this week represents a departure from what such forces were originally sent to Syria to do. 
“The Trump administration is having U.S. troops participate indefinitely in someone else’s civil war, for reasons that are quite different from the original stated objective of helping to quash the so-called caliphate of the Islamic State (ISIS).  The new reasons do not stand up to scrutiny in terms of defending any threatened U.S. interests.  The administration has in effect made a decision to immerse the United States in yet another foreign war.”
Read the entire article here:

He also suggests that the main reason that so few Americans seem to care about what the US military is doing around the world is the absence of the draft, pointing out that in the Sixties, when he was in college, every campus was concerned with the draft and the ongoing war in Vietnam.

Interviewed by Jeff Blankfort

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00:37:38 1 Jan. 24, 2018
KZYX Studios, Philo, CA
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